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Virginia Police Chief Joined Protesters; Minneapolis Police Chief Says 3 Officers Were Complicit in Floyd' Death; Attorney on Independent Autopsy Says Police Were the Reason for Floyd's Death; Floyd Family Attorney Announces Their Autopsy Results. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 1, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHIEF LARRY BOONE, NORFOLK VIRGINIA POLICE: They had been mostly polite. They're had not been any police issues, any vandalism and I said they have constructed a model for the world to see. And they very much were appreciative of that.
And very shortly they asked me to march with them. And I stepped off the steps and I started to march. But that stopped rather quickly because -- because I was peppered with multiple questions by several individuals. So, I spent about an hour, hour and a half answering as many questions as I could.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let me jump in, chief. Let me jump in. Because as you're peppered with all these questions, I'm just curious, what was the main theme of the questions and how did you answer?
BOONE: So, the main theme was the incident in Minneapolis. They wanted to know my perspective. And I didn't, you know, mix words. Frankly, I told them that two days prior to Saturday I just made a comment that the officers involved should be arrested and terminated. And I have no issue with saying that. I said it rather quickly.
You know, when you look at the incident and you see a man dying slowly for the whole world to see, I thought of his relatives, I thought of the mothers out there, I thought of myself being a father and, you know, hearing Mr. Floyd ask for his mother as he took his last breath, you know, that impacted me. Not only me. I think it impacted the whole country.
BALDWIN: Just you know a man who is calling out for his mama and if she's no longer with him, I think that speaks volumes. And to your point, how you are calling out these officers, let me just play this clip for people who haven't seen this.
This is a pretty profound moment on our air last night. It is the first time George Floyd's family was able to ask a question of the Minneapolis police chief through our correspondent Sara Sidner who was on scene. And so the question just to set this up, the question from Floyd's brother was whether the three other officers would be arrested and here is the police chief's response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: Being silent or not intervening to me, you're complicit. So, I don't see a level of distinction any different. My decision to fire all four officers was not based on some sort of hierarchy. Mr. Floyd died in our hands and so I see that as being complicit. So that is about as much -- and apologize to the family if I am not more clear. But I don't see a difference in terms of the ultimate outcome is he is not here with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And I just want to point out, chief, that the police chief removed his cap out of respect for the Floyd family as he was speaking which I think is just classy. What do you make of what the chief said?
BOONE: The chief was spot on. You know, anyone in law enforcement to see that and see it as being anything other than murder don't belong in this profession. The officers that stood around and did nothing, they should be arrested and terminated as well.
And what we're seeing across the country is grievances. These folks are upset. They're sick and tired and sick and tired of the same old same old. I suspect that we will move further after this incident than we have with the incident in California, the incident in Ferguson, and where we are currently today.
We have to have real police reform. We have to stop nibbling around the edges surrounding this issue because the African-American community, they're not going to take it anymore and I think this is why you see so many people crying out to be heard.
BALDWIN: Chief Larry Boone, Norfolk, Virginia, thank you so much, chief. I appreciate you.
BOONE: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: You got it. Still here, still ahead on CNN, what about -- to our conversation we were just having, what about the other officers involved in the death of George Floyd there, right? Four in total. One, only one charged. We'll discuss with the prosecutor from the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. What the biggest difference between these two cases is. We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: All right. We are back with breaking news. We just got the results of this independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family and their lawyer and when you read through it, it indicates that again according to this independent autopsy that George Floyd died by, quote, homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.
[15:40:04] That is a very different result than that of the county medical examiner's report that essentially indicated the opposite. Declaring there was not physical evidence of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation and that George Floyd's death was due to a combination of being restrained, underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in his system. So, let's go straight to our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And so, Sanjay, just first to you from a medical perspective, explain more for me this independent autopsy.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I mean It was not equivocal like you said, Brooke. It was very clear. They're saying cause of death, mechanical asphyxiation. You know, it's hard to say this stuff out loud because, you know, we see these images. But this is the clinical part of things.
They said that regardless of whether there was physical signs of this, it doesn't matter. There was clearly pressure that was placed on the Mr. Floyd's neck and on his back and as you mentioned it led to both a lack of oxygen and blood flow to his brain.
So, they say that this also created a situation where Mr. Floyd was essentially pulseless after about four minutes and never regained a pulse according to the pathologist and that was corroborated with the medical report too from the paramedics.
They also commented on the fact, Brooke, as you remember from that report on Friday, they said there was no other contributing cause to his death such as underlying heart disease or intoxicants. Those lab results do some time to come back but regardless they say those were not contributing causes to this.
So, it was clearly mechanical asphyxiation, as you say it was clearly homicide. They described it as the but-for sort of argument. But for the fact that Mr. Floyd had pressure on his back and his neck he would still be alive. That's how he phrased it -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Stand by for me, Sanjay, I'm being told we'll go to the news conference now where they're explaining the details. Here is Ben Crump, the family's attorney.
BEN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: -- like a human being begging to be treated like one of God's children. They want a first-degree murder charge. They want equal justice for African-Americans because black lives matter and George Floyd's life mattered.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rena S. from KARE 11 News asks, do the doctors believe the information about underlying conditions -- oh, I apologize. Rena S. from KARE 11 News asks, and are the doctors basing the cause of death solely on the video and not the autopsy?
DR. ALLECIA WILSON, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: When looking at the case, the entire investigation including the autopsy are very important. The determination of cause and manner of death are based on the circumstances surrounding his death, which does include the video. But also, additional findings that were determined at our autopsy. We do have physical evidence that supports that there was pressure
applied to his neck. And it's in this combination with the additional medical information that we have, including examination of all of the other organs that were available to us, into making our determination of cause of death.
CRUMP: And Dr. Badon, could you speak just to the physical abrasions to his head and face and how that contributed to your determinations?
DR. MICHAEL BADON, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, as Dr. Wilson said, we take everything we have into consideration. The forensic autopsy starts at the scene. Much time in most homicide cases relates to reconstructing the scene, detectives going out and interviewing people, all kinds of forensic science, where picking up trace evidence.
In this instance, the video tells you what the scene is. The video is real. The multiple videos are real. And those multiple videos show pressure that can cause death and his calling out like Eric Garner but also including calling out for his mother who had been dead for three years. None of this caused a release of the pressure and that is very disturbing. Now, what was the question?
CRUMP: The abrasions to his head.
BADON: Thank you. There were rough abrasions around the left eye and left cheek and a little bit in the front of the nose and mouth areas, that are due, as we can see in the video, to the left side of his face being rubbed against the pavement while the left knee of the officer is squeezing down on the left side of the neck which would be -- the neck is a small area with many vital organs. Arteries, veins, nerves and the windpipe all of which are compressed with the knee activity as seen on the video.
So that the abrasions on the side of the neck and the nose would also indicate that a component of the interference with breathing could be -- it was also some pressures that were placed on the nose and mouth and these are also very painful kinds of scrape marks.
There was also severe scrape marks on the back of his left shoulder which is part of the activity that was causing him to rub against his -- the officer's knee as well as the face being on the ground. And that -- those occurred while he was still alive and breathing.
CRUMP: And is that evidence of pressure?
BADON: That is evidence of severe pressure on the face. Large areas of scraping abrasions on the face in particular, left side of the face, which is evidence of his face being rubbed severely against the ground.
CRUMP: Thank you.
ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, FLOYD FAMILY LEGAL CO-COUNSEL: What Dr. Badon said is also very important for the prior question of the criminal charges. Because what was happening on that video is extremely important because when the brave young man that you're going to hear from tomorrow was trying to attempt life-saving statements to the police officers or when George Floyd was calling out that he can't breathe or for his mother, you could see at least from one of the angles, the first angle that was released, that officer Chauvin was readjusting his knee in order to further compress that tight area of the neck.
That is an expression of knowledge. That taunt of readjusting his knee in order to further compress the airway and hold him down with that sustained pressure is evidence of criminal conduct.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liz Navratil from the "Star Tribune " asks the doctors if you're autopsy found any evidence of the heart disease or other underlying conditions?
CRUMP: Dr. Wilson.
WILSON: As I've mentioned previously, certain parts of the organs have been retained by the original pathologist. In the sections that we have and in the specimens that we examined there is no significant underlying disease of the heart. The sections of the vessels that we examined were clear of atherosclerosis. The sections that have been retained, we will examine once they can be made available to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for clarifying that.
BADON: I'd just like to add on, in my coronavirus susceptible age group, that I wish I had the same coronary arteries that Mr. Floyd had, that we saw at the autopsy.
CRUMP: Thank you for putting that in context for us, Dr. Badon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yamiche at PBS News Hour asks, can the doctors determine at this time how long it took Mr. Floyd to die?
BADON: I counted the video, from the time the video started which was a few seconds, apparently, after Mr. Floyd was pushed on the ground, and the knee put on the neck, it counts about three minutes and 50 seconds between the time he's on the ground and the time he becomes motionless.
At a time when passes by, the civilians who were watching and photographing, yelled out that he was dying, that he was lifeless, that he should be permitted to get up, that he's dying, that he's going to be dead, from the moment, three minutes and plus seconds, he was motionless.
He had no evidence of breathing, of struggling, and remained that way for another four or five minutes, with a knee on his neck, until the EMS people arrived and found he had no pulse. He had a cardiac arrest, they tried CPR. They tried shock to the heart, nothing worked, and he did not recover. In my opinion he was dead after about four or five minutes. He was
pronounced dead sometime later, when he gets to a hospital, a person's alive in this country until a proper physician, usually a physician, pronounces him dead. But he appears to be dead before the EMT people get there, certainly.
CRUMB: And it's important to note, the two EMT -- I'm sorry, it's important to note that the two EMT members, once they got to the scene, they had LUCAS device working on an unresponsive, pulseless male. They concluded in the ambulance, they performed pulse checks several times, finding none, and delivered one shock by their monitor.
The patient's condition did not change. He remained unresponsive and pulseless. And that's why I said the ambulance that we see arrive on the scene was George Wilson's hearse -- I'm sorry, the ambulance that we see arrive on the scene was George Floyd's hearse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Question from Andrew Tangel from "The Wall Street Journal." Do the medical examiners' results differ in professional opinion from the county medical examiner or is that information you don't have yet?
WILSON: At this time, we have not had the opportunity to review the actual preliminary report from the medical examiner who performed the autopsy. We have seen accounts from the complaint, and based on that, yes, our findings do differ.
Some of the information I read from that complaint states that there was no evidence of traumatic asphyxia. This is the point in which we do disagree, that there is evidence in this case of mechanical or traumatic asphyxia.
CRUMB: Thank you, Dr. Wilson, for explaining that. Next question.
OK. If you could speak louder with the questions.
How many more?
OK. So, we've got five minutes left.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are no further questions.
CRUMB: OK. Thank you all. We will continue to keep you informed as we continue to move forward to getting justice for George Floyd. Thank you, and God bless, and let's remember to take a breath, America, let's take a breath for George. Let's take a breath for peace. Let's take a breath for justice. And let's take a breath to heal our country. Thank you.
BALDWIN: I want to get straight to some analysis. And I know those are gruesome details, but they matter, they matter in terms of charges that these police officers could face. Forensic pathologist Dr. Joy Carter, I want to come to you first. Because my goodness, when I hear these two forensic pathologists describe their findings and you compare that of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's -- it's preliminary --- preliminary autopsy report, how can they differ so much?
DR. JOY CARTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, SAN LUIS OBISPO SHERIFF CORONER DIVISION: Well, I think it's important to remember, they have not released the findings of the original autopsy. So, we don't know the wording of that. I saw something that was quoted, and listed underlying conditions, but not the primary cause of death.
The doctors who did the second autopsy used the term "mechanical asphyxia" which is absolutely what everybody has seen in this country by watching that prolonged video. That is mechanical asphyxia. It is different from what others have used the term as "strangulation."
Ultimately asphyxia means that you are deprived of oxygen. And after several minutes, three to five minutes, you have irreversible change, when the brain has been deprived of oxygen. And so, you have a window that could have been used for oxygen therapy to see how the person was doing. But you pass a point of no return.
It is important, and I hope the doctors will follow through and look at the tissue that should be made available in this case that's at the medical examiner's office, and also that a toxicology has to be done, that is part of a complete forensic analysis.
BALDWIN: Stand by for me, Dr. Carter. I want to bring in one other voice, Marilyn Mosby, the State Attorney for Baltimore City, who was new and in charge, right, when, some years ago, Freddie Gray, another unarmed black man, was taken into police custody and then through that rough ride ultimately, you know, died in the hands of police.
And so you prosecuted that, and I'm curious, A, what you make of these independent autopsy report findings when compared to the county report. And also, B, the biggest difference you find between what's happening in Minneapolis and what you oversaw in Baltimore?
MARILYN MOSBY, STATE ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE CITY: So, thank you for the opportunity to be here. I first and foremost have to give and extend my condolences to the Floyd family. I think what you saw just now is incredibly gripping. And it's -- it's tell-tale that there's a complete loss of faith. There's a complete loss in faith in the system and in the prosecutor.
And so, you have this independent autopsy that the family has paid for, in essence. They have no faith in the prosecutor. It contradicts what the medical examiner and the official autopsy is actually saying. And so when you think about that, and the fact that they haven't even received discovery yet but they can tell by these documents and they can tell by what was described in the autopsy report that this is something that as a prosecutor you use to prove intent, and they want the highest charge in this particular case.
They want this individual, this officer, to be held to the highest account and to be charged with first-degree murder. This is why they've gone out on their own and gotten an independent report. BALDWIN: But which one, at the end of the day, for everyone
wondering, of course, I think you can assume why this family has, you know, commissioned these long time forensic pathologists to come up with this independent report. And obviously, as you point out, it's a lack of trust in the county. But at the end of the day, which report stands up in court?
MOSBY: So, I mean, the official report is going to stand up in court. But this is one in which the defendant can now counter. And I've just got to -- I can't emphasize enough, like, they are making the case, and it's because they have no faith in the prosecutor. And so I say this is a problem because we have a man who was knelt on his neck, this knee was put into this man's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while they sucked the life out of him.
And when you see right now what is happening, for me, it's deja vu because it's five years later and it's almost the same sense of urgency and distrust in the criminal justice system that we're seeing illustrated all across the country.
I think the biggest difference in this particular case, with the Freddie Gray case, and this was an innocent 25-year-old black man who made eye contact with police, who was unconstitutionally arrested, who was placed in a metal wagon, head first, feet shackled, and handcuffed, whose spine was partially severed in the back of that wagon and whose pleas for medical attention were ignored. Right. The difference and the biggest difference between this case and that case five years ago --
BALDWIN: The video.
MOSBY: -- was that they have video evidence that depicts the murder and we did not have that, right, unfortunately. We now have cameras in all police vans throughout the city of Baltimore. But at the time we did not have that. The other --
BALDWIN: Marilyn Mosby, forgive me, I've got to jump in, I'm up against the next show.